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Time is tight on the unplanned admissions DES

So now we know exactly what all those little QOF tick boxes have been recycled into: one massive tick box so big it can be seen from space.

The new Unplanned Admissions DES is an absolute masterclass in bureaucracy which I really don’t want to go into here, a) Because I’ll lose the will to live and b) Because you’ve read all about it and feel the same.

Three things are apparent, though:

1 There’s not a GP in the land who believes it’ll achieve its aim.

2 Most of us will do it anyway, albeit with the same level of engagement and enthusiasm displayed by a monkey forced repeatedly to perform a demeaning party trick for the reward of a banana which belongs to him anyway.

3 Time is tight so we have to get on with it.

And it’s ‘3’ which is really doing my head in. Because it’s difficult to get on with something when we don’t know what it is we’re supposed to be getting on with. We’re not certain about the official deadline for the crucial first stage – is it three months or six? And no one has seen the proper specification because it hasn’t been released. And the codes required to demonstrate activity aren’t available yet. And – in our area at least – there is no satisfactory risk stratification tool available.

So no guidance, no clarity, no codes and no hope of hitting whatever the deadline is. And no tool. Except for the one running the Department of Health.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him at and follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield